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Author Topic: Bridges built to become movable, but never operated.  (Read 1752 times)

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North Carolinian born in Fairfax County, VA. Advocate for slapping an interstate shield over every single freeway and U.S. route corridor in NC.

edwaleni

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Re: Bridges built to become movable, but never operated.
« Reply #26 on: September 12, 2018, 04:08:19 PM »

This bridge was originally built by the Peoria, Decatur and Evansville Railroad, later taken over by the Illinois Central.

As you can see the right side pylon is round and was designed to swing the span open for steamer traffic.

From my research, it hasn't been opened since it was tested when built in 1888.  The Wabash River used to be navigable and many of the original spans swung open, were suspended or have high clearance to allow passage as far north as Terre Haute.  As I have read, the bridge tender would walk out and unlock the span and a mule would pull the span open for passing ships.

The left side collapsed in 2000 during a flood when the Wabash channel shifted west.



This is why the abandoned New Harmony Bridge (a few miles north) span has such a high clearance.



The Big Four (CCC& StL Railroad) Evansville Secondary bridge at Mt Carmel has a swing span in the middle.  It is still in use for backing coal trains into the Duke Energy plant nearby, but there is no record of this span ever opening. (Sorry, photo is fuzzy). It is now owned by Norfolk Southern.



Next is a bridge in downtown Mt Carmel. Built by the Southern Railroad, the swing span is way over on the left bank. It is almost blocked by trees. Norfolk Southern owns this bridge as well.



This bridge was the Big Four (CCC& StL) Vincennes Secondary and the swing span was in the middle section. It is now owned by a local farmer who operates it as a private toll bridge called "The Wabash Cannonball Bridge". You can drive it yourself. Make sure no one is coming when you start or you will have to backup.



The B&O Southwestern built a swing span at Vincennes in the 1880's, but the Wabash flood in 2000 caused the swing section on the Indiana side to loosen and caused alignment trouble.  The current owner is CSX and they had the swing span removed in 2002 and replaced it with a girder plate span.



The bridge at Riverton, Indiana has a center swing span that has not opened. Originally built by the Illinois Central in the 1890's to replace a narrow gauge to Indianapolis, it is now operated by the Indiana Railroad.  The span is locked in place as the IR has put welded rail in and there are no breaks for the span to move.



This bridge was originally built by the Peoria & Eastern in the 1890's and has been modified by the current owner CSX. The lift span was centrally located at one time, but CSX replaced it and placed a girder plate in its place.



Since the Wabash River was not considered reliably navigable north of Terre Haute, the waterway access requirement ended there.  This waterway requirement remained on the books until after World War 2, whereas it was turned over to the Tennessee Valley Authority.  The TVA evaluated it and it was considered not viable for power or water commerce and after removing the dam at Grand Rapids north of Mt Carmel, the water route was formally decommissioned.

The result of this requirement is a bevy of swing and lift spans that never (or rarely) opened. No one can find a record of a steamer coming up the Wabash river after 1900, 10-15 years after most of these bridges were built.

Makes you wonder how many bridge tenders the railroads hired to open and close them, just to have no one come through.
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Brandon

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Re: Bridges built to become movable, but never operated.
« Reply #27 on: September 12, 2018, 05:08:25 PM »

For more bridges built to move but never (or rarely did) did, look at some of the bridges over the Hennepin Canal between Bureau and Rock Island Illinois.

There is a draw bridge that hasnt opened in 75 years.

The US67 swing bridge was removed.

But there is a swing bridge built for a farmer but not many pictures exist. He needed to cross the canal to get his farming equipment to his other fields and the original built in 1909 failed.

The issue of who pays for a bridge over a disused canal for a farmer caused such a stink. The canal had reverted from federal to state control. Something to the effect that the canal had not been struck from the record as a federal waterway, therefore no bridges could be built that could impinge on boat clearance.

Now mind you, the canal had not functioned as a whole since the end of WW1 and parts were in use as late as 1946.

But the law was the law. The state of Illinois had to come up with several millions of dollars in the late 1970's to build a swing bridge for the farmer so he could reach his fields. As far as anyone knows, the bridge was only opened once, to pass inspection and reclosed. Its never been open since.


Do you have the location/coordinates of the bridge/is it named? I'm interested in the swing bridge.

If you go to the bridgehunters website, they have a directory of all bridges over the Hennepin "except" that one for the farmer. It has no name that I am aware of.

The draw bridge from 1909 is still standing but closed to traffic. Local clubs are raising money to rehab it as a cross over for the bike trail.

I have looked for the farmers bridge on Google but cant find it. Honestly it has probably rusted and melts into the background and not visible from above.

All I remember is that it looks like just big slab of steel beams with grating on top. It "rolls" over the canal bed using an electric motor with gears.

If you find the coordinates, please share!

I think I may have found the farmer's swing bridge.  It's near Annawan, just north of I-80 (and may be why the farmer wanted the bridge so badly).

https://goo.gl/maps/hiRrwvo82W92
https://goo.gl/maps/6h3DQfRLghT2
Barely visible from I-80: https://goo.gl/maps/zzMZWn48qF42
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Re: Bridges built to become movable, but never operated.
« Reply #28 on: September 12, 2018, 06:36:49 PM »

For more bridges built to move but never (or rarely did) did, look at some of the bridges over the Hennepin Canal between Bureau and Rock Island Illinois.

There is a draw bridge that hasnt opened in 75 years.

The US67 swing bridge was removed.

But there is a swing bridge built for a farmer but not many pictures exist. He needed to cross the canal to get his farming equipment to his other fields and the original built in 1909 failed.

The issue of who pays for a bridge over a disused canal for a farmer caused such a stink. The canal had reverted from federal to state control. Something to the effect that the canal had not been struck from the record as a federal waterway, therefore no bridges could be built that could impinge on boat clearance.

Now mind you, the canal had not functioned as a whole since the end of WW1 and parts were in use as late as 1946.

But the law was the law. The state of Illinois had to come up with several millions of dollars in the late 1970's to build a swing bridge for the farmer so he could reach his fields. As far as anyone knows, the bridge was only opened once, to pass inspection and reclosed. Its never been open since.


Do you have the location/coordinates of the bridge/is it named? I'm interested in the swing bridge.

If you go to the bridgehunters website, they have a directory of all bridges over the Hennepin "except" that one for the farmer. It has no name that I am aware of.

The draw bridge from 1909 is still standing but closed to traffic. Local clubs are raising money to rehab it as a cross over for the bike trail.

I have looked for the farmers bridge on Google but cant find it. Honestly it has probably rusted and melts into the background and not visible from above.

All I remember is that it looks like just big slab of steel beams with grating on top. It "rolls" over the canal bed using an electric motor with gears.

If you find the coordinates, please share!

I think I may have found the farmer's swing bridge.  It's near Annawan, just north of I-80 (and may be why the farmer wanted the bridge so badly).

https://goo.gl/maps/hiRrwvo82W92
https://goo.gl/maps/6h3DQfRLghT2
Barely visible from I-80: https://goo.gl/maps/zzMZWn48qF42

That is probably the site, but that isn't a swing bridge. I would surmise Illinois took out that goofy swing bridge and moved an older truss bridge to the site after the canal was struck from the federal record.
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